Health Rangers on patrol

Parks Victoria will put Health Rangers in Lysterfield Park to encourage visitors to improve their physical and mental health.

Chief operating officer Simon Talbot said the health rangers would help to make parks more accessible than ever by delivering activities and working with health service providers, volunteers and other groups to deliver more nature-based health programs.

These will include green prescriptions, walking, cycling, bush craft and outdoor skills, water-based activities and programs that promote positive mental health.

“There is an ever-increasing demand for nature-based health programs and wellness services and having Health Rangers within parks makes great sense,” Mr Talbot said.

An initial trial over 2018-‘19 will put at least three Health Rangers in urban parks, including Lysterfield Park.

“If feedback on the Health Rangers is positive, we can expect rapid expansion of the concept,” Mr Talbot said.

“We will be looking for people with an interest and skills in nature-based health and wellness programs to apply for these roles.”

A rapidly increasing body of research has shown that nature-based programs can be an important contributor to improving the growing social and economic burden of obesity, mental health, cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, back pain and musculoskeletal conditions.